Valencia beat Getafe to win Copa Del Rey

April 16, 2008

MADRID, April 16 (Reuters) - Valencia salvaged some pride from a miserable season by claiming their seventh King's Cup with a 3-1 win over Getafe at the Calderon on Wednesday.

Ronald Koeman's side, who have been dragged into the relegation battle after three successive league defeats, went 2-0 up within 12 minutes thanks to goals from midfielder Juan Mata and centre back Alexis.

Getafe, who lost to Sevilla in last season's final, pulled a goal back when midfielder Esteban Granero scored from the spot on the stroke of halftime.

The goal gave Michael Laudrup's team a new lease of life and they put their opponents under severe pressure in the second half but it was Valencia who struck again, substitute Fernando Morientes heading in seven minutes from time.

The night ended on a low note for Getafe when midfielder Fabio Celestini was sent off just before the final whistle.

Defeat completed a heart-breaking week for Getafe who lost to Bayern Munich on the away goals rule in the UEFA Cup last Thursday.

Valencia have had a dreadful time of it since Ronald Koeman took charge in November but they could hardly have got off to a better start against Getafe.

Former Real Madrid midfielder Mata put them ahead in the fourth minute with a well taken header that deflected off team mate Angel Arizmendi on its way into the net after David Silva had clipped a great cross in from the left.

Getafe were still recovering from that blow when they were floored again. This time their former player Alexis charged in at the far post to fire a bullet header after an Arizmendi corner in the 11th minute.

They struggled to respond as Valencia crowded them out in midfield but were thrown a lifeline just before the break when they were awarded a penalty after Emiliano Moretti took Cosmin Contra down in the area.

The referee pointed to the spot after consulting his linesman, sparking a storm of protest from the Valencia players.

Granero kept his cool, however, and sent Valencia keeper Timo Hildebrand the wrong way with his spot kick.

Valencia striker David Villa twice went close to restoring his side's advantage at the start of the second half, firing wide of the mark after being put in the clear and then seeing a goal-bound shot turned over the bar by keeper Oscar Ustari.

But Valencia had to withstand some heavy pressure from Getafe as they tried to sit on their lead and it was not until Morientes nodded in after Ustari made a hash of dealing with a long-range free kick from Ruben Baraja that they were able to rest easy.